On august 31, Minister of State for the Prime Minister Office, Dr. Jitendra Singh, suggested that the government could provide public facilities and other support to the private sector for setting up clinics, medical schools, medical colleges and diagnostic facilities in order to supplement the efforts of the government in providing healthcare services.
Addressing 'FICCI HEAL 2015', the annual flagship healthcare conference of FICCI on the theme, 'India's Healthcare: Time for Paradigm Shift' organized in association with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Singh said the Prime Minister's call for 'Make in India' should also focus on 'Make in India strategies for Indian healthcare', aimed at management of diseases in the country. He added that there was a need for prioritization in healthcare delivery.
Referring to the gap in healthcare services delivery in urban and rural areas, Dr. Singh stated that there was a need for providing 600 million people in the rural areas with affordable health services. Rural areas largely remain without quality healthcare and lack equipment, and this issue merits attention immediately, he added.
Dr. Singh said that India as a nation was evolving at a fast pace and for a paradigm shift in healthcare, global influence needs to be considered. No more one would work in isolation as globalization was impacting every sphere of life. He added that there was a need to find radical solutions to India's healthcare issues by experimenting and adapting new technologies.
On the occasion, the minister along with other dignitaries released two papers, namely, FICCI-KPMG Thematic Paper on 'Healthcare: The Neglected GDP Driver' and FICCI-IMS 'Health Knowledge Paper on 'Raising Capital in Healthcare'.
Dr. Arvind Virmani, Mentor - Public Policy and Economics, FICCI & Founder Board Member, Forum for Strategic Initiative, said that 'Digital India' platform should be leveraged to provide e-health, e-medicine and e-learning to rural areas. Private sector should help the government in making e-platforms more effective by strengthening public health systems.
Emphasizing the importance of data and scientific analysis to derive at information, Dr. Virmsaid that public health education has been long neglected and now it must be focused on. Citing an example, he said that earlier it was perceived India suffered from malnutrition due to lack of food and nutrition on food. But studies have shown that bad sewage systems leading to bad sanitation, was a major cause of malnutrition. Hence, it is essential to spread public health education.
Pankaj Patel, Vice President, FICCI and CMD, Zydus Cadila Healthcare Ltd., said that the national movement for 'Swachh Bharat' can be viewed as 'Swastha Bharat', as it comprises a series of public health initiatives. FICCI believes that a 'fourth layer, the pre-primary layer', below the primary care needs to be created to ensure continuum of care for a billion plus population as the traditional three tier system has not delivered the desired result. Also there was a need to evolve workable PPP strategies to collectively face the challenges and build on each other's strengths.
He added that FICCI Health Services Committee has been supporting and partnering with the Health Ministry and other stakeholders towards creating the building blocks for quality healthcare by developing Standard Treatment Guidelines (STGs) for tertiary, secondary and primary care, National Costing Guidelines, Categorisation of healthcare providers and standardization of quality indicators. Now is the time to create appropriate mechanisms and awareness for seamless implementation.
In his theme address, Dr. Nandakumar Jairam, Chair, FICCI Health Services Committee and Chairman and Group Medical Director, Columbia Asia Hospitals India, said that there was a need to look at preventive healthcare and take a holistic view of the healthcare scenario. Also, the cost of healthcare services delivery has emerged as one the biggest challenges for the sector. He added that healthcare sector could provide employment to a large section of society and there was need to demonstrate a thought-process to move ahead in this direction.
He said that health of the nation was important as it had an impact on country's economy and growth. In India, 70 percent healthcare services were being delivered by the private sector and the government was largely playing the role of a facilitator. In the last few decades, India witnessed a change in its diseases where now the focus is on 60 percent non-communicable diseases rather than communicable diseases. Hence, there was a need to not just focus on preventive healthcare but also in services delivery to deal with both communicable and non-communicable diseases.
Ashok Kakkar, Co-Chair, FICCI Health Services Committee and MD, Varian Medical Systems International India Pvt Ltd., said that the conference brought to light many valuable insights and showed how the a paradigm shift in healthcare could be looked at from multiple perspectives. He added that FICCI Heal is designed to allow stakeholders to deliberate on the current and relevant issues faced by the industry.
Also, present on the dais were Vishal Bali, Co-Chair, FICCI Health Services Committee and Asia Head - Healthcare, TPG Growth and Shobha Mishra Ghosh, Senior Director, FICCI.